Terms of Endearment (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

Terms of Endearment (1983)



Critic Consensus: A classic tearjerker, Terms of Endearment isn't shy about reaching for the heartstrings -- but is so well-acted and smartly scripted that it's almost impossible to resist.

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An account of the complex and difficult relationship between a mother and daughter as they face life's challenges over three decades.

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Critic Reviews for Terms of Endearment

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (8)

It takes all of perhaps five minutes to fall in love with the leading characters in Terms of Endearment and from that point on, the audience is just putty in the extremely capable hands of writer-director James L. Brooks.

February 22, 2015 | Full Review…

Terms of Endearment is about three relationships and students of screenwriting would do well to study the way in which these three stories are told completely and effortlessly in a movie of average length.

January 18, 2013 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Its quirky rhythms and veering emotional tones are very much its own, and they owe less to movie tradition than they do to a sense of how the law of unintended consequences pushes us ceaselessly through the years, permitting no pause for perspective.

February 20, 2009 | Full Review…

Brooks' dialog is wonderful throughout and all the characters carry off their assignments beautifully, even down to Danny De Vito and Norman Bennett as MacLaine's other suffering suitors.

February 20, 2008 | Full Review…

[Writer-director James L. Brooks] has television in his soul: his people are incredibly tiny (most are defined by a single stroke of obsessive behavior), and he chokes out his narrative in ten-minute chunks, separated by aching lacunae.

December 17, 2006 | Full Review…

Then The Illness strikes, and the film changes gear completely, pulling out all the stops and almost incidentally delivering one of the best-acted, most moving death-bed scenes in recent memory.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
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Audience Reviews for Terms of Endearment


A wonderful drama that finds a perfect balance between sweet, humorous and sad with sublime performances by the whole cast (mainly MacLaine and Nicholson), while the superb editing keeps the narrative always fluid as it spans several years in the lives of its characters.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Heart-warming, this classic chronicle about family problems and platonic love. Together with finest actings and an intelligent script, Terms of Endearment gonna make the most strong people cry.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


A great film! So touching. Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger both give great performances! I had originally given this film a 4/5 rating. However I have recently decided to bump it up to a 4.5/5. I will never forget this film...the acting, the story, the characters, the execution...it's an extremely well done film.

Jameson Worley
Jameson Worley

Super Reviewer

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